Firm / Organisation

Varnum LLP

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Managing Partner: Ronald G. DeWaard
Number of partners: 93 Number of lawyers: 183
Languages: English, Gujarati, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Hungarian

Firm Overview:
A full-service provider of legal counsel, Varnum is one of Michigan’s largest law firms with over 180 lawyers practicing in seven offices. Established in 1888, the firm is well-established as one of Michigan’s premier law firms. Varnum clients range from international corporations to regional companies, both publicly-traded and privately-held. The firm’s diverse client base includes manufacturers, financial institutions, health care providers, professional groups, municipalities, colleges and universities, school districts, developers, publishers, retailers, governmental units, transportation, trade associations and charitable organizations.

Main Areas of Practice:  

13 partners, 23 fee earners based in Michigan
Varnum attorneys represent banks, borrowers, credit unions, other lenders and units of government in loan transactions, bond financings, recapitalizations, financial restructurings, and mergers and acquisitions.
■Recapitalization of a holding company of insurance brokerage, employee benefits and risk management agencies ($2.9 billion enterprise value)
■Represented a bank holding corporation in a merger with a peer to form the third-largest bank holding company in Michigan ($151 million)
■Represented a bank holding company in the acquisition of a community bank, including issuing sub debt and convertible preferred equity to finance the transaction ($33.3 million)
Contacts: Brendan Best/Susan Wyngaarden Tels: 313 481 7326/616 336 6563
Emails: [email protected] or [email protected]

31 partners, 54 fee earners based in Michigan
Varnum commercial and corporate attorneys work daily on a variety of contract matters as well as complex transactions governed by the Uniform Commercial Code. With a strong merger and acquisition practice, the firm routinely represents and advises clients on M&A transactions with values exceeding $100 million.
■Represent client in the sale via merger of a high-tech Colorado-based company to a California-based company ($450 million)
■Roll-up acquisitions of insurance brokerage, employee benefits and risk management agencies (more than 200 transactions since July 2013)
■Representation of private equity holder in sale of automotive supplier to competitor ($325 million)
■Representation of a client in a roll-up of three automotive suppliers and a subsequent sale of the combined organization to a private equity fund ($415 million)
Contact: Kaplin S. Jones  Tel: 616 336 6675
Email: [email protected]

33 partners, 58 fee earners based in Michigan
Varnum’s litigation team acts primarily on behalf of clients in matters including contract disputes, post transaction disputes, environmental claims, securities, antitrust, construction, corporate take-over, product liability and real estate issues. The firm also represents out-of-state entities involved in adversary proceedings in Michigan and companies seeking specific litigation experience. A significant recent matter is Hi-Lex Controls Inc., et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. When the US Supreme Court announced in 2014 that it would not review a $6 million federal court judgment obtained by Varnum against Michigan’s largest health insurer, it opened the door for hundreds of other Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan customers to recoup millions of dollars in hidden fees that were secretly added to their health care claims. Varnum has now represented more than 100 Michigan employers in these matters.
Contact: Michael J. Roth  Tel: 616 336 6243
Email: [email protected]

Labor & Employment:
12 partners, 23 fee earners in Michigan
With one of the most experienced labor and employment practices in the region, Varnum has expertise in all areas of labor law and employer/employee relations. Clients range from large corporations and universities to small retailers and service firms-public, private, union and non-union employers-throughout the Midwest and across the country.
■Assisted corporate counsel for national pharmacy chain in their analysis and implementation of the reduction-in-force programs, with particular attention to ensure there was no disparate impact on women, minorities and other workers with legally protected status
■Represent numerous companies with multiple entity business structures in unemployment insurance tax appeals pursuant to the Michigan State Unemployment Tax Act
Contact: Elizabeth Wells Skaggs  Tel: 616 336 6620
Email: [email protected]

Regulatory: Energy and Environmental:
9 partners, 18 fee earners in Michigan
■Provided regulatory, permitting, finance and other work associated with the development of an 1100 MW, natural gas fired electric power plant ($800 million)
■Served as Michigan counsel in the regulatory approval process in the sale of a Michigan power company to a London-based infrastructure investment firm ($330 million)
■Represent multiple utility-scale wind and solar energy generation developments, including a recent Huron County wind farm project ($50 million)
Contact: Matthew B. Eugster  Tel: 616 336 6821
Email: [email protected]

Startups & Emerging Companies/MiSpringboard®:
10 partners, 20 fee earners
The firm assists startups and emerging companies during every stage of their development, from entity formation to exit. The team includes corporate, employment and intellectual property attorneys and assists with financing at all stages. The firm developed the MiSpringboard® program in 2011, providing free legal services to qualifying startups. Originally a $1 million commitment, the firm has since committed a third million and has helped more than 500 companies to date.
Contact: Matthew Bower  Tel: 313 481 7327
Email: [email protected]